College Basketball Pick
Maryland’s last home Game was beyond disappointing for the Terrapins as they fell by 13 points to Wisconsin. They’ll try and give their fans something more to cheer for Sunday when they host Michigan.
It’s been feast or famine for the Wolverines in the Big Ten, either beating up the weak teams or getting blown out by the better ones. Their five losses have all come by double digits, however, their most notable win came over this Maryland team. Of course, it’s a different story away from home for Michigan. They beat Purdue at home, but lost by 17 on the road. The alarming thing for Maryland in that first Game is that Michigan was without its best player Caris LeVert.
LeVert returned for limited time last weekend, but wasn’t healthy enough for Tuesday’s loss at Ohio State. Michigan won the first meeting by shooting lights out from deep with 12 made threes as well as 47.2% from the field. Duncan Robinson hit five of those threes while Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin had three apiece.
It was a different story for Maryland as they went 6-of-24 from long range. The Terps won the battle of the boards by nine, but Melo Trimble completely disappeared from the Game, shooting 1-of-7 for two points. That’s the type of Game Trimble put in against Wisconsin last weekend and the main reason they lost. If Trimble puts in a dud, the Terps are merely an average team.
Once again, the advantage goes to Maryland in the frontcOurt. Diamond Stone came off the bench to Score22 points with 11 boards in the first meeting, while Robert Carter and Jake LAyman combined for 33 points. Michigan lacks a decent post defender between Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle and that’ll probably be the problem again. Stone was suspended for Maryland’s midweek Game, so he should come into this one with a bit of a chip on the shoulder, or that could be wishful thinking for a hot headed freshman.
On the other end, it was the Michigan backcOurt that won the first Game. Irvin did his usual work, scoring 22 points, with Walton and Robinson doing the rest. Stopping Robinson will be important for this Game because usually when he struggles, so does Michigan. He’s mainly used as a three-point threat, averaging 3.0 per Game, but since defenses have figured him out, that hasn’t been the case. Robinson has hit multiple threes just once in the last six Games.
Carter and LAyman will be the most important defenders for Maryland, as they’ll have to deal with Irvin and Robinson. Whatever they did in the first meeting, obviously didn’t work. Irvin is a streaky player and that’s most evident in his home/away splits. He’s averaging 13.8 points per Game in Big Ten play, but is at 17.8 at home and 7.6 on the road. That could easily be the difference in this Game.
The x-factor will be LeVert who recently said he’d be a Game-time decision every night moving forward. That makes every Michigan Game tough to bet on, but it’s expected he’ll be ready for this one. Granted, don’t expect many minutes from him.
The Terrapins may have the best team in the conference, but when Trimble doesn’t show up, that’s not the case. They have the chance to blow this Game open like previous Michigan losses, but if Trimble struggles from the field, it could be a back-and-forth battle.
Predicted Score- Maryland 76 Michigan 69